Don’t bother the court with this – Martin Kpebu on a lawsuit against Achimota School
Legal practitioner Martin Kpebu has expressed his concern over the lawsuit filed by one of the Rastafarian students who was denied enrolment into Achimota School on account of his hair.
Earlier today, Tyrone Iras Marhguy filed a suit at the supreme court challenging the school’s decision for denying him his right to education guaranteed by the constitution.
He believes that without the intervention of the court, Achimota School “will continue to violate his fundamental and constitutionally guaranteed rights to education, religion, administrative justice and right against discrimination”.
But reacting to this, Mr Kpebu stated that he was hopeful that the Ghana Education Service and Achimota School should have done the “right thing” by enrolling the students.
“This is a very clear matter that we needn’t bother the court with. They could have just done the right thing by allowing the boys to enroll. It’s not everything that should go to court”.
Speaking on Newsnight on Joy FM, Thursday he stated that regardless of the suit filed the matter can be resolved out of court.
“Once they have gone into court, let’s understand that the law permits that at any time before judgement, the parties can settle. So for me, I expect that since the minister says they are still talking, it should be possible for them to settle it without going through all the stages of litigation”.
Considering how long some litigations can take, Mr Kpebu is concerned about the education of the boys.
“Because this can take a long while, it can even take a year. So in the meantime what will happen to the boy’s education, that’s where we should be looking at.”
Among the many reliefs being sought by the Tyrone is an order by the court directing Achimota School to immediately admit or enroll him to continue with his education unhindered.
He is also seeking compensation for the “inconvenience, embarrassment, waste of time, and violation of his fundamental human rights and freedoms.”
In the event that the case goes in his favour and his reliefs are granted, Mr Kpebu stated that this will give Ghana “a tag of a country with a mixed system where some schools permit hair and others don’t”, a system he describes as “unsatisfactory”.
“It would give Ghana a tag of a country with a mixed system where some schools permit [it]. But because as of now, some schools allow children with dreadlocks to enroll and yet others say no, then it means that it is a mixed system where in Ghana some schools permit and others don’t.
“And it’s not a satisfactory system. No, it should be uniform. The constitution has one language that you don’t use a person’s religion to deprive the person of education” he stated.
Overall, Mr Kpebu believes that the situation “doesn’t bode well” for Ghana and recommended that the GES and Achimota School agree to enroll the students in spite of their hair.
“I keep saying that the example which tickles me and gives us a source of worry and concern is that in Zimbabwe about 13 years ago the court was very clear that the little girl in the case should be allowed to wear her dreads in school.”
“But then, in Ghana, 13 years on, this has become an issue that is creating a lot of division in the country. It doesn’t bode well for us, we don’t need this”.
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